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The Smart Woman's Guide to Asking for (and Getting!) a Raise
Suze Orman
Photo: Robert Tractenberg
Women have a very bad habit of putting themselves on sale. But tough economic times mean there is little chance your employer will offer a sizable raise—no matter how terrific you are—unless you force the issue a bit. A few negotiating tips:

Stand Tall in Your Truth
Be confident when you make your case for a raise. If you're tentative and apologetic, you're signaling ambivalence about your own worth.


Make Those You Are Dependent on For a Paycheck Dependent on You
Sure, the person writing the check has leverage. But so do you. If you go above and beyond your job description and make yourself as close to indispensable as possible, don't you think that's going to affect how your manager responds when you ask for a raise?

Present Options, Not a Question
Angela and I agreed that a raise from $2,500 a month to $3,000 a month would make a big financial difference. But I don't want her to start the negotiation by asking "Can I have a raise?" or "Can I have a raise to $3,000 a month?" Yes-or-no questions are too easily dismissed. The more tactical approach is to frame the conversation as an option between two alternatives. In Angela's case we decided that her framing should be along the lines of "I'd like to be hired full-time. If you will not provide health insurance, I want to be paid $3,500 a month. If you provide health insurance, I think I should be paid $3,000 a month. What are your thoughts?" That changes the entire dynamic of the negotiation.

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    Stressful Economic Times
    Jean Chatzky
    As the stock market remains shaky, people continue to worry. Jean talks with stress and lifestyle expert Dr. Kathleen Hall about what people can do to relieve stress and make it through these tough economic times.
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      Talking to Children About Tough Economic Times
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        Recession Fears
        Jean Chatzky
        After an uncertain week on Wall Street, investors and everyday Americans alike are trying to protect their money and safeguard themselves from a possible recession. Jean talks with callers about some of their financial fears and offers advice to help them ride out these tough economic times. Plus, Jean talks with Wall Street veteran and financial writer Alexander Green about his take on the economy and advice from his book The Gone Fishin' Portfolio: Get Wise, Get Wealthy…and Get on with Your Life.
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          Ask Marcus Buckingham: How Do I Find Work During Tough Times  
          Personal strength expert Marcus Buckingham answers questions on finding work during tough economic times. Ask Marcus your career question
          Marcus Buckingham
          Q: I am a stay-at-home mom. My son is graduating and I am now trying to get back into the work force. Money is limited so school is out of the question right now. I was thinking maybe just get any job for now and then get bills caught up and try to go back to school. Finding anything other then a minimum wage job around here with my qualifications will be hard to do. It is so frustrating now days to find any job. What steps should I take for my future? I am now single so it's all up to me.

          —Kelly, age 46 

          A: Kelly, I think your instincts are correct and you shouldn't feel bad about taking a job to make ends meet. You have to plug the hole in the boat before you can raise the sails. Allow yourself to see the job you get as a stepping stone, not a stopping point. Take it on knowing that you are using it as a platform from which to build the bridge to your true career. You write that "it's all up to me." I admire your self-reliance, and you have raised your son to the point of graduation, so you are clearly a resourceful person. But even though it is ultimately up to you to create the life you want, that doesn't mean that you have to do it alone. Never be ashamed or reluctant to tap into your network of friends for help. Be willing to learn from the experience of other people who have gone through the same thing you have. If you know other single moms who have found success getting back into the workforce, ask them their secrets.

          Also, although you say that school is out of the question because money is limited, don't let your assumptions on that point prevent you from following your passion if more education is what it takes to create the life you want to have. Every college has needs-based scholarships and financial assistance programs to help people in exactly your situation, and their administrative staff will be very happy to answer any questions you have about what financial assistance is available and how to apply for it.
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            Coping in Difficult Economic Times
            Dr. Robin Smith
            A day after the U.S. House of Representatives rejects a $700 billion bailout plan and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummets, Dr. Robin talks about how to address fears in a time when the economy is spiraling downward. 
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